Ughelli grassroots politicians vow to fight imposition of candidates
By Jon Egie
Never again shall politicians in Ughelli North LGA tolerate the evil of imposition of unpopular candidates against the collective will of the people. Any attempt to do so shall be firmly resisted by all legal means available so that sanity can be restored to democracy in this LGA.
This was the stand and resolve of grassroots politicians in Ughelli North LGA who convened at the residence of Chief Pius Ovbije, Saturday, July 20 in Ughelli where delegates from the seven clans in Ughelli North LGA deliberated on their political future and fortunes.
Declaring the meeting open, the Convener of the meeting, Chief Pius Ovbije, said he called the meeting to seek ways of making political veterans and juggernauts in the LGA secure their right of place and relevance in the political terrain of the LGA and Delta State at large.
He lamented that in spite of the contributions of the grassroots politicians since 1999, they had nothing to show for it as alien hands often came to reap off their gains.
“Since 2003, we have been neglected and treated as a Nobody. Can we continue like this ? Can we continue to look at a few hands manipulate and dictate our political futures? I believe that we should come together and do something about the impunity of imposition, which contradicts the spirit of one man one vote. If we do not do something by way of reaction to the situation on ground we shall continue to be marginalised but if we decide to let democracy have its roots in Ughelli then we shall become relevant, otherwise, we shall continue to have no say in our own LGA. If we decide today, that there shall be no more writing of names by the powers that be, then we shall have a hope in the political and economic development of our LGA. If we resolve to react by taking appropriate legal actions against the cabal that thrives on imposition of unpopular candidates on us then there shall be sanity and decorum in our political terrain”.
Various contributions were made in reaction to the stimulating opening remark of the Convener of the meeting. Hon. Akise Johwo, a one-time chairman of the Ughelli North LGC hailed the intent of the Convener of the meeting and called for commitment to the cause.
Mr Ifati Isaac, a grassroots mobilizer from Ogor said he honoured the invitation to the meeting because of the integrity of the Convener. Lamenting the evil of imposition he said he does not physically know the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Ughelli North LGC in spite of the fact that he has been actively involved in partisan politics of the LGA for over a decade. “This is because he was imposed on us” he said, stressing that it was because of imposition that he decided to quit the PD forever and to the extent that if any of his children contests for any elective office on the platform of the PDP, “I vow to vote against that child”.
Hon Pleasure Atunusha aka Marshal, Hon Bestman Itive, Hon Godday Okorodafe, Hon Onakpoma Joseph, Mr Armour, Hon John Edogbejire and Mr Gabriel Evwierhurhoma were among others who spoke in support of the noble idea. They recalled how they were involved in mosquito campaigns to canvass votes for their candidates before election days. Mr Frederick Ewhubare particularly lamented that he does not know the Councillor representing his ward after 14 years in active politicking in the LGA “because he was imposed on us”.
Hon John Edogbejire from Agbarho and a one time Councillor the LGA called for a severance of ties and loyalty to so called god-fathers and political leaders as a panacea to killing the impunity of imposition.
Chief Ntigoroku Andrew stressed the need to repair Ughelli North by rejecting imposition. He said of about five Councillors representing Orogun clan he knows only one because others were imposed on the people. “For the past seven years I do not know any Commissioner and yet I say I am a politician. It is very painful that we are not represented. Look at Hon Friday Akpoyibo, the council chairman, he is not representing Orogun people, he is loyal to just one power that imposed him on us and that is the error we must correct.”
Prince Ezekiel Unuebo cried out that Evwreni has been the worst hit by the evil of imposition and called for a united effort to fight the evil of imposition to the last.
Rounding off the debate, Chief Pius Ovbije was very excited that what plagued him was also an ailment to others who groaned in silence and rejoiced that grassroots politicians from the seven clans of the LGA are on his page of reasoning and have consequently resolved to fight the evil of imposition.
“The issue is that there must be good governance, if you do not know, I know what is happening in that council now. The Concillors have no say, they even beg for their salaries. This was not the situation in 1999 when Osikorobia was there and that is because there was no imposition. If they try it again, we will take them to court and tell them NO! You cannot impose any body on us again. Let us vote and let the votes be counted. This is our stand”. Ovbije concluded.
At the end of the meeting a 7-man steering committee was constituted to in concert with the Convener, formulate a name for the group and decide the next line of action.
Members of the committee included: Hon Akise Johwo (Ughelli clan), Okpidiama Godwin (Uwhereu clan), Barr Ekorhi Elvis (Agbarho clan), Dennis Aboro ( Ogor clan), Hon Napoleon Umukoro (Evwreni clan), Hon Bestman itive (Agbarha clan) and Hon Joseph Onakpoma (Orpgun clan).
Those who attended the meeting cut across all shades of political parties in the country.